Now that Thanksgiving is over, you may have realized that you might not have eaten as clean as you would have liked. That is O.K; it is human nature to be imperfect, so we must brush ourselves off and get back on the healthy eating train if we were on it or start anew now. Consider finishing off the year strong by adding more veggies to your lifestyle so that you can start the new year on a positive and healthy note.
Vegetables are delicious, wholesome, and wonderful; they can decrease one's risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and certain cancers; builds a robust cardiovascular system, bones; and even improve memory. It can also help with weight loss for those seeking to shed a few pounds and getting nutrients for those who are void of them. And yet, knowing these little factual truths, nearly 92% of Americans do not consume the minimum recommended daily amount of vegetables on any given day. That number is a little as 2 to 3 cups of vegetables a day; in just one day.
Consider these 8 simple, yet easy ideas to add more veggies, mostly dark leafy greens, to your daily routine. If it is hard when you start, add a fruit or two to the mix until your taste buds adjust.
1) Drinks – I do not know about you, but I start my day with a green drink, especially when I am pressed for time and want to get my nutrients in quickly. You can, too. Start your day with a nutritious veggie juice with a few fruits to keep you feeling energized, all mourning. Whether you use a blender, juicer, or store-bought brand or program, make sure to get the nutrients your body needs to function at its best.
2) Salads –
Colorful salads make for a beautiful meal to look at and feel good when being digested too. It is another excellent way to get your veggies in. Salads are easy to find and purchase and are also easy to make if you decide to go at it independently; there is no excuse not to have a big salad for lunch or dinner at least two nights a week.
3) Sandwich/Wraps –
Whether you use a raw veggie wrap or a wrap filled with veggies is a great way to get your vegetables in for the day. A sandwich or wrap is also an easy and quick way to get all the nutrients you need from vegetables for lunch. Use rice paper wrappers, kale, collard green, or cabbage leaves in place of pita, tortilla, or bread.
4) Sautéed –
The healthiest way to sauté greens is to use about 3 to 5 tablespoons of water, instead of oil, over low to medium heat. The vegetables will taste just as delicious, especially with onions and garlic and your favorite seasonings like Mrs. Dash added to them. But if you do want to use oil, try healthier oils like organic extra virgin olive, safflower, or sesame oils.
5) Soups –
A nice hardy soup is in demand, especially this time of year when the weather is getting chilly. All one has to do is add some veggies to some barley, quinoa or make a vegetable-only soup, and they are good to go. Water and herbs are beneficial to being the base vs. bouillon cubes that may be high in sodium. Too much salt in the diet defeats living a healthy lifestyle but adding onions, garlic, oregano, and some heat if you can tolerate it is not; they are quite beneficial.
6) Steamed –
One of the healthiest ways to make a meal is by steaming it. Adding a little water to the pot or a steaming basket for about 2 to 10 minutes depends on the veggies you are making, is all you must do to have a healthy, nutritious meal in minutes.
7) Dehydrator or Baked or Roasted – It is time to put some greens in the dehydrator or oven. You can make Kale chips, cauliflower, everything like buffalo wings, or even some roasted brussels sprouts. The list is endless because when you use your creativity, the sky is the limit regarding what you can develop to eat.
8) Raw Veggies –
One can always obtain their greens in a raw manner, uncooked like a salad or finger food fashion as a snack or complete meal. Consuming raw food may be difficult at first, but with time it will become easier to digest. However, it will take a lot more chewing and consumption than the other ways, like juicing and blending drinks, but the nutrients will be livelier and more viable.
No matter what you are eating now, make it your mission to consume more vegetables in your diet; it may be just what you need for longevity and excellent health for now and future years to come.
How can you add more colorful and flavorful veggies to your healthy eating regime?